Brides and grooms, you are not alone if your original wedding plans have changed or been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 has changed the entire wedding industry, and while it may feel a bit devastating to have to change your original wedding celebration, we are here to bring you some positivity as you re-plan, re-schedule, and re-imagine your wedding day.
Why not throw yourself a virtual wedding? Stream your wedding day virtually, and make it a party! Regions from California to New York City have recently enacted new laws to legalize marriage via video calls. So whether you can or cannot legally get married now, you can still throw a zoom wedding celebration in style with all your guests virtually in attendance. (And legally tie the knot, at a later date!)
Because we’re ready to help you start planning, we’ve chatted with experts in the industry and compiled a list of 10 tips on how to plan the virtual wedding of your dreams. Transform your home or backyard into ‘château d'amour’ – and send us photos!
Check Your Local Marriage Laws
These laws will vary depending on the country and state in which you live, and some regions require a specific window of time between obtaining your license and actually getting married. (So even if you’re wanting to elope, you may need to play a few days in advance!)
Some states in the US will even allow you to get married without an officiant! In the case that your local marriage office is closed or has limited hours, many will let you apply over a video call, and officially say “I DO” as long as one witness is present virtually. And if for some reason you can’t legally get married – you can absolutely still coordinate a celebration for now, and sign the paperwork later.
Assemble Your Virtual Planning Team
Just because you may be modifying your original wedding plan doesn’t mean you can’t still have some help from a planner or friends. Reach out to your wedding planner and see if they can help you organize. Do you still want decorations? Some sort of delicious takeout dinner? A special wedding cake to cut? You’re allowed to have fun and keep the traditions or special moments you want – all while practicing proper safety during coronavirus and the region you live.
Maybe you want a fun “bachelorette” night beforehand. We have no doubts that your bestie would love to take that on and make you a virtual celebration, complete with gifts or treats and all your best pals in attendance.
Choose a Platform
Instagram Live, Google Hangout, Zoom Conferencing – you’ve got options. Decide if you want a live stream that people can watch, or if you want to be able to see your guests just like they can see you. This will be the deciding factor in how you wish to broadcast your ceremony.
Make sure to include proper links to the platform you choose, etiquette instructions to your guests (are they muting themselves, do you want them to be able to comment in the feed?) and any other helpful information for people who may be using this for the first time.
Send out Invites!
Not only will it be fun for guests to receive invites to your celebration, but they’ll get to find out what this wedding experience is all about. Do they get to dress up for the virtual wedding? Should they bring their own bottle of champagne? Is there a fun afterparty where they can break off into smaller virtual groups and socialize together? We can’t wait to see what you decide.
Wedding invite experts at Minted have options for the bride on a budget to the couple who want to go over-the-top. Make it feel like “you” – and if you were still hoping to include some sort of wedding favor, it’s a perfect opportunity to send it out with your invites!
Since you’ll most likely be doing your own hair and makeup, make it an event. Start with whatever you need to feel relaxed and rejuvenated for your special day – and start the night before.
Here at Bridal Musings, we’re champions of any sort of spa treatment. Enjoy a soak in the tub, followed by some luxurious body oils or facemasks. Relaxation is a huge key to feeling radiant, so even if that means you paint your nails over a night watching Netflix, let yourself find a calm space to celebrate yourself.
Make a Playlist!
A fun list of your favorite feel-good music will make cooking breakfast together and getting ready more fun. We recommend anything that’s going to give you the energy you need for a day of socializing, posing for photos, and being in love. We promise it will make doing your hair and makeup (and maybe your partner’s hair, too!) even more fun, and feel less like a chore.
If you still want an altar with florals, go for it! Reach out to your original floral vendor and see if you can modify your previous plan for your new celebration. Odds are, they will be happy to make the day special for you, even if you are significantly downsizing what you had originally planned.
If you aren’t thinking of going for a florist but still want the magic of flowers, we suggest dried florals from Etsy, or picking up a few bouquets from your local market and making your own arrangement. Remember this styled shoot? We made our bouquets with locally sourced flowers from the grocery store! Break out some fun candles, vases, table runners, or funky dishware, and create a glorious dining table for two!
Guess what brides, there are no rules on how to dress. You can choose something more casual if you wanted to save your dramatic wedding dress for a more real-life reception. Or, just go for it! During this pandemic, it’s been exciting to have special moments to look forward to, and maybe wearing your fanciest attire will really mark the day with a beautiful and emotional stamp.
If you are feeling unsure about what to wear, take a peek at our online wedding dress shopping guide. You can find exactly what look you’re wanting, with endless options starting around $100!
We recommend you keep things a little brief. Considering you may have quite a few people streaming along with you, it may be difficult to balance a long ceremony with the inability to control the clarity of everyone’s devices (or attention spans).
If there’s anything you really want to include, like a reading or vows – consider including a beautiful print out in your invites! That way guests can follow along, even if they can’t hear every word you are both saying. (Especially if your vows get a little emotional!)
Otherwise, run through how you’d like the event to go with your officiant or a friend in charge. That way you and your partner won’t have to worry about the flow, and someone else can be in charge of muting and unmuting, and guiding you both through the ceremony with ease.
It’s okay if you decide to set the timer on your phone and take your own photos, and it’s also okay if you find a socially-distanced photographer who can make your backyard, front porch, or living room photos look absolutely breathtaking. Even if this day doesn’t match your original plan, you’ll want to document the fun and happiness that you and your partner shared together.
Get an instant camera and snap some polaroids. Record your first dance. Have your guests take photos of themselves, too. You’ll have enough moments captured to make a photo album that will fill you with those moments of love.
Our expert advice doesn't stop here! Consult all of our COVID-19 wedding-related tips here as we all navigate these difficult times.